Who Will You Call for Asset Management?

As mentioned in our Managed Services blog, one of our key inventory customers required asset management coverage across Latin America and Asia as well as the United States.   Having these local “feet on the street” resources was necessary to manage budget constraints by minimizing travel cost and leveraging the more affordable salary ranges of local field technicians.  The presence of our local resources in these key locations allowed us to perform inventory in over 50 Asian and LATAM sites; while ensuring cost did not exceed the available budget. In addition to the cost consideration, our client also needed a solution that was flexible, since the project start dates for the individual sites often shifted due to their internal business demands.  Flexibility was also important to ensure resources could accommodate work hours that were not disruptive to the internal employee work schedules.    Our resource assignment approach allowed us to schedule techs as needed by the client, with the techs even working the late shift on many occasions. Although cost and flexibility is/was important, it would be meaningless without providing high quality results.   Our client has a stringent set of benchmarks and quality standards – to help ensure productivity and accuracy of data.    Our approach to meeting these asset management requirements begins with the use of proven and highly ethical technicians, with experience and skills in technology, inventory management, and detailed work activities.  In addition, to help our techs be successful, we worked with our channel partner to apply around the clock project management, using collaboration tools, supported by online training courses as needed. Our next blog...

1 + 1 + 1 = Big Win for Managed Services Project

We were asked by one of our key channel partners, a large IT outsourcing company, to help them with one of their IT managed services projects. This managed services project was for a multinational client to whom they provide global telecom and computer equipment support. The project included management of equipment at their local offices, as well as call centers and data centers located at hundreds of different sites around the world. As part of their service agreement, our channel partner undertook a major initiative to upgrade the equipment from traditional telecom to a VOIP environment.  Since they bill their clients based on the volume and type of equipment managed, an inventory initiative was needed to verify the initial property records and the resulting asset status once the upgrade was complete.  Basic testing of the equipment was also needed to ensure the assets were configured in accordance with specifications. Many of the sites were large contact/data centers and were going to take hundreds of days to complete. The client did not have resources available in many of these locations and realized that sending their own personnel to multiple sites for extended time would be costly and prevent them from performing their regular duties.  Using an “independent” resource team would also add a sense of equity to the situation, so that all parties could feel confident with the accuracy of the results. That is where we stepped in. With the global reach of our “feet on the street” field technicians, GlobalNow was selected, along with our channel partner to perform inventory at over 100 sites around the world, including Latin America and...

Choosing a Quality Technology Partner Makes All The Difference.

It makes all the difference when your technology partner can engineer a flawless custom video player, inspiringly code CSS3 and HTML5, and transform the whole site into a responsive designer’s dream.   When companies make the effort to build beautiful, innovative websites, they gain respect from their peers and the community at large. Potential clients and competitors alike will visit a corporate website to assess that organization’s business acumen and competence. Fair or not, if that site crashes or the video loads with an unending wheel spinning, that company will be judged harshly. Every organization needs to be perceived as detail-oriented; there is no room for mistakes. Websites must function seamlessly. That’s where GlobalNow comes in. Our highly talented developers will clearly distinguish yours as a visionary company in your field. In today’s rapidly evolving tech landscape, hobbyists abound. It pays to select a tech partner accustomed to overcoming complex challenges. GlobalNow will competitively position your company for what’s next.   GlobalNow follows a quality business model featuring active listening, intentional planning, and loyal partnership. Our business is to learn yours. Our mission is to be a highly effective silent partner at your side.   Our Active Listening Model Step 1. Assess where the client company stands right now. Fully flesh out the details by asking questions, researching competitor services, and observing carefully. Step 2. Determine the client company’s goals by listening actively. Encourage the client to dream aloud. Pose relevant questions. Step 3. Present options. Decide, together, the best path from the first step to the last. Partner with the client company to achieve goals within the agreed...

A CEO’s Thoughts on Client Solutions

I had a nice conversation this morning with Mike, an associate of mine that’s in the logistics industry. We were both talking about our good fortune to be in businesses that make tangible improvements for our clients. Mike works for a large parts fulfillment provider, and often sees his company’s solution help his client increase revenue by delivering spare parts on a very timely basis. For me, being in the IT business, I’m fortunate to see client solutions from both our offerings – software development and fixed asset management services. Most recently our HTML5 and video player development team has delivered outstanding results to an entertainment client, which will allow them to grow revenue through additional subscriptions and advertising revenue.  In addition, our global team of field techs are conducting a large inventory project, helping the client validate billings, tax treatment and make quality investment decisions; while using our affordable feet on the street field tech resources from around the globe. Accomplishing the above requires the use of effective technology and sound operating methods.  However, I realize the key contributing factor to successful client solutions is the quality and commitment from our extended teammates. Without their strong work ethic and talent, our clients would never realize the type of tangible benefits described above.  I look forward to working with such a talented group of people as we continue to grow our...

Conducting Inventory Projects

Conducting inventory projects across the globe is always an interesting proposition, as we manage different cultures, time zones, and expectations. However, from experience, we have learned there are a number of important methods that are critical to success; including: Consistent training and reinforcement. This includes not only technical training, but also behavior training. How technicians should act and represent themselves at client sites, being sensitive to client schedules and preferences. Also, procedural traing, the absolute imperative to escalate issues immediately, to address asap and resolve with clients. Effective collobration tools. We use internal and client based applications to record inventory and testing results. However, management and communication requires real time effective project management tool to ensure – communication tracking, issue distribution, real time notirfications, and basic PM activities. (example – we use basecamp for certain projects). These tools must be easy to use on client sites, with features such as integrated email. Client preparation. Clients need to know what to expect when our technicians visit their sites, to avoid work disruption. Is there a primary contact available to answer questions or provide access to equipment rooms? Do we need to work after hours to avoid disruption? Client involvement helps ensure there is no confusion regarding scheduling and presense. Reliable resources. This is most important of course. All the training and procedures will become moot, if the technicians themselves are not reliable, dependable and competent. This is our responsibility to ensure we provide these types of technicians, through experience, screening, and...

VERSO

Update on VERSO:   We have now launched to the general market (beyond our initial flagship customers)!   Please see the attached link to the website describing our VERSO ™ software. VERSO is a reverse logistics portal; automating the key functions of Returns (RMA) Management, Spare Parts Ordering, Field Services and Trouble Reporting. Our differentiation includes: Focus on improving the customer experience through a single portal to manage these common reverse logistics functions High level of flexibility – to accommodate multiple workflows, customers, locations, needs, etc. Automation of the process through data interface with supporting ERPs and other systems Both Software as a Service (SaaS) and traditional on premise delivery options The about approach enables VERSO to be the ideal solution for manufacturers, distributors, and dealers that need a solution to: gain efficiencies and reduce cost improve the experience of their customers gain visibility to their reverse supply chain activities encourage customer retention and additional revenue generation more Please feel free to provide your feedback when you have time, Thanks...

Seamless Customer Service

It strikes me that providing seamless customer service is a great competitive advantage. We have all experienced frustrating customer service; as we’ve attempted to have some issue resolved, encountering fragmented service departments, lack of visibility to our issues, countless hand-offs, and just bad information (don’t even ask me about my banking experiences!)   Seems like this approach became prevalent, as enterprises attempted to gain efficiencies through silo creation, outsourcing and acquisitions. However, I think this trend may be shifting.  More and more companies are recognizing the importance of great customer service, which  promotes: Ongoing contract renewals New product purchases Brand and reputation enhancement Lower cost due to less rework Internal satisfaction from a job well done New customers from existing referrals And much more Great people, process, and management techniques help address the above.   And so do great systems.   I believe GlobalNow has made a point of implementing a seamless service philosophy in our reverse logistics portal (Verso).   This includes allowing out clients to engage their own customers through a single gateway for the most common service functions of returns /RMA processing, spare parts ordering and trouble reporting.  With focus on flexible workflow, alert mechanisms and end to end visibility. Over time, I hope our clients will see the tangible returns listed above from providing an excellent customer experience.   And I look forward to learning more about how we can even make our solution even better – with the mission to create a truly memorable positive experience for each subscriber that uses the...

Reverse Logistics Software in the Real World

I was fortunate enough to be invited by Paul Kern at Argus Connection to take a tour of their warehouse facility earlier this week, which gave me some great insight on how asset recovery and disposition is handled by a well run company.  Argus provides desktop/equipment deployment services to a number of markets, but also offers asset recovering, hard drive cleansing, and part disposition services.   I was struck by the value that they are able to create for their customer base and themselves, by providing timely deployment of equipment while extracting revenue from discarded equipment and associated parts. We had good conversations about the importance of data when understanding the market value of scrap, individual parts, and hard drive cleansing.   To me, it reinforced the importance of what GlobalNow is providing on with our reverse logistics software, as well as our field techs.   Our portals must have the ability to: Track the status of parts and derivative components at a very granular level Quickly add new fields  as needed to capture evolving information (without programming) Customize workflow  –  since it can vary at the customer and contract levels Capture both price and cost associated with the components – allowing proper pricing for resell and disposition Provide real time data analysis – understanding performance of components across the reverse logistics supply chain Extend tracking for all stakeholders into all facets of the business – ensuring high levels of communication Thankfully, our software seems to meet the above requirements. With the tour by friends at Argus, I can see firsthand the need for the right types of systems and processes.   Thanks...

Optimizing the Service Supply Chain using Portals

Grant Gordon, Managing Director – KPMG Business Effectiveness, recently blogged on optimizing the service supply chain, profiting from product lifecycle opportunities”  (http://ow.ly/7IrzL).   In the blog and associated white paper, Mr. Gordon noted “An effective reverse logistics program within the service supply chain is key to managing the customer experience. The seemingly simple process of exchanging a defective part during the product’s life cycle can “make or break” a customer’s long-term relationship with the technology provider.”   I agree completely with Grant, and it seems to me that this “seemingly simple process of exchanging a defective part” is a great example of value of advanced portal solutions. Previously, portals were mostly focused on information sharing, with a customer retrieving product information from a supplier or vendor.   They have now evolved to become a gateway to community based workflow and automation, helping cooperation between multiple parties, improving and measuring performance by adhering to a “best practice” workflow , and most recently  – automating much of the customer service functions by using timely data from supporting systems; resulting in faster and more accurate service for customers.   This helps reduce the suppliers cost through improved efficiencies and decision making quality through better insight in their customer/supply chains. This approach also lays the foundation for the fundamental point within Mr. Gordon’s blog entry – “Embracing service as a revenue generator rather than a cost center to earn and retain a valuable asset—your customer’s Long-term loyalty” Our own portals provide these types of benefits, but I believe over time they will/can do more. Our spare parts management portal presents to users the association of spare...

Is your head in “The Cloud”?

I like clouds. I always have. My mother use to always tell me “my head was in the clouds”. I remember fondly those moments as a kid on a lazy summer afternoon lying on the cool grass and gazing up into the sky, imagining different characters created from the cloud formations…..dogs, cats, my wacky aunt with the crooked nose, etc. Perhaps that is why I like the technology transformation to “the cloud”. With Steve Jobs announcing earlier this month Apple’s iCloud service; there seems no stopping this movement to using the cloud for both consumer and business needs. I just finished attending an informative Webinar from CRN on cloud computing (and Google cloud strategy), which pointed out that the Cloud market will hit $240 billion in 2020 (Forrester) and Cloud computing services is the top CIO priority in 2011 (Gartner). Whether we are buyers or providers of technology (many of us are both), cloud based software and services transform the way we work, conduct business and in some cases make money. For instance, as part of our International fixed asset service, we uses cloud based portals to manage our technicians across the US, Latin America and Asia. This portal allows our technicians, managers and clients to rapidly communicate requirements and issues from anywhere in the world, using any device connected to the internet. This is critical, when real time communication among multiple stakeholders is critical to project success. As a provider, we offer cloud based software portals to mange reverse logistics. Although this market’s understanding of the benefits of cloud based solutions, I believe we need to continue to...